Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

April 1, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. doomsday / ˈdumzˌdeɪ/ (n.) – a time of global destruction
Example: People fear the threat of doomsday.

2. global /ˈgloʊ bəl/ (adj.) – relating to the whole world
Example: Nuclear waste is a global problem.

3. proliferation / prəˌlɪf əˈreɪ ʃən/ (n.) – a rapid increase in numbers
Example: The war has resulted in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

4. establish /ɪˈstæb lɪʃ/ (v.) – to found, build, or bring about something
Example: The paper was established in 2000.

5. grain of salt / greɪn ɒv sɔlt/ (idiom) – looking at something with doubt
Example: She reads history books with a grain of salt.


Read the text below.
Scientists from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) have just moved the hands of the doomsday clock closer to midnight. They think that global warming and the proliferation of nuclear weapons have greatly influenced this adjustment.

The BAS–a magazine that informs the public of global threats—was established in 1945 by experts who took part in the creation of the atomic bomb. The doomsday clock was first displayed in 1947. At first, the doomsday clock symbolized the peril posed by nuclear weapons. In recent years, specifically 2007, the BAS has included climate change as a threat to the survival of the human race.

From the mid-80s to the early 90s, the hands of the clock were moving backwards thanks to political agreements made between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, weapon testing from other countries like India and Pakistan made nuclear weapon reduction difficult.  The BAS warns that a global catastrophe could happen if steps are not taken to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and global emissions.

However, other scientists take these warnings with a grain of salt. Michael Oppenheimer [OP-uh n-hahy-mer], a professor at Princeton University, and Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, are two of the few people who voiced their thoughts.

Oppenheimer stated that humans will be able to handle the situation. He explained that international cooperation and domestic policies can help prevent global catastrophe. Pinker also added that the world has grown more tolerant and less violent.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Which do you think is a bigger threat, climate change or nuclear weapons? Kindly explain your answer.
·         Do you think the doomsday clock is a good way of informing people about the earth’s situation? Why do you say so?

Discussion B

·         What are specific consequences of global warming?
·         How do you see the world 50 years from now? 

April 1, 2015